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Friar Lawrence is often seen as a character who tragically meddles with events he cannot control. What is your opinion of Friar Lawrence in the play "Romeo and Juliet"?

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Introduction

Linsey Belford U5E Friar Lawrence is often seen as a character who tragically meddles with events he cannot control. What is your opinion of Friar Lawrence in the play "Romeo and Juliet"? What do you consider are the most important aspects of his role in the play? You should consider how Shakespeare guides the audience's response to the Friar's character within a dramatic performance. The audience knows in "Romeo and Juliet" that from the moment the play starts there will be tragic events that lead to many different consequences. Decisions are made by by-standers that affect others' lives and things go wrong. This could be seen as meddling but it is not always the case. Friar Lawrence does make decisions regarding some of the other characters' lives and he cannot control these so they end in one major tragedy. In the play "Romeo and Juliet", Friar Lawrence is seen as a meddler between the two "star-crossed lovers" lives. This means that fate is already against them given the fact that there is a historical conflict between their families. He plays an active part in the most crucial moments of the play where life-changing decisions must be made. At first, the Friar does not initiate events, it is the other characters that approach the Friar and lead him into the play. Friar Lawrence only does as others ask and this usually involves solving a problem. ...read more.

Middle

The Friar returns with the comment that he is ungrateful but tries to provide a solution so that he will still be able to confirm his marriage to Juliet and everything will be fine when he returns from Mantua in a few months. This soon becomes sorted and at this stage the lovers have backing from Juliet's nurse. The parents of both the lovers are unaware that their only child have got married and are just about to confirm this. This comes across, as the Friar is the one who is helping them. Both families could stop the wedding at any point and this is where the Friar risks losing his respect from others by helping them and agreeing to go ahead with the marriage. However, Juliet's parents have found Juliet an eligible man to marry, named Paris, and so have arranged a marriage ceremony with the Friar. They do not really consult Juliet with this. This is another point in the story where a character approaches the Friar for help; this time it is Juliet concerned that she will be forced to marry Paris, the eligible chosen man to be her husband. It is at this point that the Friar thinks up a plan to stop the marriage from taking place and the idea of a sleeping potion is the best that he can think of. The Friar cannot have thought this through properly as if he had he would have seen all the disadvantages that were involved. ...read more.

Conclusion

He is granted forgiveness as the Prince realises that the Friar did not mean to meddle and that he just got tangled up between two lovers in need. Many, in anti-catholic audiences, may see the Friar as a meddling character. This was in Elizabethan times when the new Church of England had just come about and many did not like Catholics. Friar Lawrence was a Catholic and this may be another reason why people may feel he meddles and causes problems. It is fair to say that individual audience members will view this play differently, maybe even in accordance to their own lives. Some will consider the Friar as a meddler while others could see all along that he was good natured and just wanted to help the lovers who already had fate against them. He tries to show consideration for both families throughout the play and I think that at the most stressful point of the play in the Capulet's mansion that the Friar shows he is only human and this is where he realises that he should not have interfered and starts to panic. At the end of the play it is clear to see that the Friar has changed and has learnt a lesson of not meddling with peoples' lives. He can see that although his intentions were good, they caused trouble and that truth was the best option to use when dealing with both families. The audience may take pity on the Friar because he does apologise to the Prince and all involved and ask to be punished proving that he realises his mistakes. Linsey Belford Page 1 ...read more.

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